Privacy SOS

Although CIFA was shut down, the records of the TALON database were preserved and parked in the FBI’s Guardian database. According to the June 15, 2010 Washington Post, those are expected to be part of the new repository of information and groups housed at the Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center, which will work closely with the FBI on domestic terrorism matters, including threats to military bases.

The June 22, 2010 Federal Register described the new repository in expansive terms. It would have a broad domestic and homeland security mandate and would contain personal data, citizenship documentation, biometric data and

reports of investigation, collection, statements of individuals, affidavits, correspondence, and other documentation pertaining to investigative or analytical efforts by the DoD and other US government agencies to identify or counter foreign intelligence and terrorist threats.

The FBI also has plans to expand its biometrics data base in Clarksburg, West Virginia, to include not only fingerprint scans, but also gait and scent information; facial recognition data; images of tattoos and scars; and finally, iris scans. When the system is complete in 2014, it will serve thousands of police agencies, the FBI, the DHS and the military.

The project is called “Next Generation.”

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Above: Brockton police released this video, depicting their facial recognition technology and the mobile platform they use to capture and transmit data.

This kind of biometric data gathering is gaining ground throughout the United States and the world. Here in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Sheriffs Assoication got a federal grant worth $222,134 from the Department of Justice office for Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS). But far from community policing, the money was given to Massachusetts to procure facial recognition systems for all of the sheriffs departments in the state, as well as two police departments per county. Brockton police have purchased mobile iris and facial scanning technology, an instrument that was developed for use in the field by the military in Afghanistan and Iraq and has now come home to police departments throughout the US.

Therefore the federal government is building a federal architecture to store facial, iris and other biometric information, and at the same time it is doling out grants to states so that they can build the infrastructure that will feed the larger data bases. 

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